Famous beyond regional borders, tortellini di Valeggio are actually called 'Nodo d'amore' (love knot) because of the knot-like shape they are given.
Strictly handmade, they can be bought in numerous pasta shops in Valeggio and Borghetto, with a very thin pasta, filled with meat, they are excellent with melted butter and sage, but also enjoyed in broth and even dried with melted butter and Parmesan cheese.
They are linked to an ancient legend and honoured by a great and famous event: the Festa del Nodo d'Amore, which takes place every year in Borghetto di Valeggio sul Mincio.
The filling consists of mixed meat (beef and pork), chopped vegetables, rosemary, mortadella without pistachios or pepper, and a dash of white wine, usually Custoza. This stuffing should be cooked for 3-4 hours, after which it should be minced and seasoned with eggs, parmesan cheese and nutmeg.
The classic version of the tortellini recipe is to cook them and eat them in meat broth to which one or two tablespoons of Bardolino wine are added once they are served; otherwise, they can be cooked in the meat broth anyway and then pulled up and eaten 'dry', dressed with just barely browned melted butter and a few sage leaves.
It is a classic dish that is offered unchanged all year round in restaurants and in the pasta factories that still have an artisan dimension here on the Garda Veneto.
Here’s the recipe:
Ingredients (for 6 people):
- 600 g of flour
- 5 eggs
- 100 grams of pork fillet
- 100 grams of veal meat
- 100 grams of beef pulp
- 200 grams of chicken breast (or, optionally, 100 grams of chicken livers)
- 100 grams of raw ham
- 100 grams of Grana Padano or Parmesan cheese
- 50 grams of breadcrumbs
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- Extra virgin olive oil
Preparation of the meat filling:
Finely chop the onion, put it in a saucepan with the oil and wilt it over a low heat.
Add the chopped pork, beef, chicken and veal with the rosemary and nutmeg.
Add pepper and salt without exaggerating because the ham and cheese will give more flavour to the mixture.
When cooked, remove the rosemary, leave to cool and then mince or blend the cooked meat with the ham, cheese, breadcrumbs and the yolk of one of the 5 eggs.
Form a ball, wrap it in kitchen paper and leave it to rest for at least an hour.
Preparation of egg pasta:
After carefully sifting the flour, mix it with the remaining eggs, half a glass of water and a little salt.
Knead it well and then roll it out into a very thin sheet.
Cut the egg pasta sheet into squares of 4 centimetres per side and fill them with a small ball of meat filling.
Close the pastry square along its diagonal, until it becomes a triangle. Then join, by pressing them together, two corners of the previously obtained triangle. Your tortellini is now ready to be cooked.
You can serve the Valeggio tortellini with capon broth or butter and sage.